From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Monday, October 14, 2013

Edward Estlin Cummings: Bon Dieu!

E. E. Cummings   (Self-portrait)
Although the world at large is familiar with much of E. E. Cummings' poetry, it is not as familiar with the roots of his inspiration.

Wikipedia reports that Cummings "was born into a Unitarian family" and "exhibited transcendental leanings his entire life."  His journals contain many prayers to "le bon Dieu," such as this one: "Bon Dieu! may I some day do something truly great. amen."

Another glimpse into Cummings' spirituality comes from these poetic lines: " i thank you God for most this amazing day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes."

Ironically, Cummings was later accused of exhibiting prejudice towards some ethnic and religious groups.  This stemmed from certain poems he had written that contained "derogatory words" with reference to these groups. 

Whereas friends had pleaded with Cummings "to reconsider publishing these poems," Estlin (as he was often called) insisted that they be published in order to raise awareness of "how derogatory words cause people to see others in terms of stereotypes rather than as individuals."


Copyright October 14, 2013 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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